WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is “thanking God” after an alleged assassination attempt on his life only involved seeds used to make the deadly poison ricin, not Charms, a candy once found in Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) packages.
Department of Defense officials were alerted Monday after two envelopes addressed to Mattis, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, and President Donald J. Trump containing the poisonous substance triggered alarms at the Pentagon mail screening facility.
“All I was told was that there was a potentially dangerous chemical substance that had found its way into the Pentagon, no mention of ricin or anything,” Mattis said. “Every bone in my body went into shock. I thought it was for sure Charms.”
That feeling is something that still “haunts the hell out of” the former four-star Marine general.
“Once I was briefed on the situation, I ran to my office and locked and loaded,” Mattis said. “As a Marine, when you hear the words ‘potentially dangerous chemical substance,’ your first and only thought is Charms. Those suckers are just bad juju. Everybody knows that.”
The hard candy, most comparable to a Lifesaver, was first featured in MREs during the 1970s, but today is universally accepted amongst members of the military as a cause for bad weather, bodily injury, unexpected combat, and overall bad luck.
Charms were even infamously portrayed as a source of misfortune on the HBO Series “Generation Kill,” which focused on the trials and tribulations of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Mattis admittedly “scoffed” when hearing about the curse upon his enlistment into the Marine Corps in 1969, but eventually learned just how dangerous the candy could be.
“The day we landed in the [Persian] Gulf, our interpreter opened a pack of them inside our tent and within seconds we had missiles raining down on us,” Mattis said. “The next day I had my XO ratf-ck all of the MREs on post until they were gone. Some say it’s actually what helped us take back Kuwait.”
Even after all that, Mattis was still visibly shaken up when asked further about Charms.
“I thought they were coming back in stock or something. It’s just a flashback I never wanted to have,” he added. “And I’ve seen some shit.”
Upon receiving confirmation that it was “just ricin,” Mattis went back to work Friday, even reportedly using some of the confiscated poison as coffee creamer the following morning.
“It’s actually not all that bad,” Mattis said. “Pretty weak stuff, nothing that blows my hair back, but it’ll do I guess.”